What do Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Jerry Reed have in common? They all produced songs that have permeated my thoughts lately. Last week, I was in Anchorage, Alaska. This week my travels took me to southern Idaho. Next week, I’ll be in Oregon. Like the Man in Black sang, “I’ve been everywhere man!” With so much required travel occurring, I’m lucky to remember anything I need to do. To that point, I’m even luckier when I get to do something I WANT to do! Let’s talk about the various travel hacks I’ve found at cruising altitude.
- Travel light. Even on a work trip, I try to whittle my belongings to whatever I can carry onboard. Whenever I check a bag, I live in constant fear that my suitcase and work attire will get lost in Neverland. If my suitcase is on my person, I can breathe a sigh of relief that I won’t have to run to a Target at the last minute to buy dress pants and blazer. Furthermore, I live for bags that can fit under the seat in front of me. At my whopping 5′ 1.5″, I dread the potential struggle that ensues when I try to place or retrieve my bag in the overhead compartment. I’m also a strong, independent woman who don’t need no help so I CANNOT rely on the kindness of strangers to lend a helping hand for this task! haha With that said, I’m loving my new London Fog under-seat roller bag. I just picked mine up from TJ Maxx for $60 but I’ve found comparable bags on Amazon if you’re interested. For a bag so seemingly small, it holds a surprising amount of gear. I packed two pairs of shoes, my laptop, toiletries, and clothes into my bag!
- Toiletries. All this talk about suitcase contents brings me to my next travel tip. Keep a dedicated set of toiletries in your bag! Doing so will prevent the normal forgotten toothbrush, ponytail holders, or heaven forbid, deodorant! I normally leave my toiletries in my suitcase so that when I’m packing for a trip, I only need to add clothing and shoes.
- Establish loyalty accounts. Any hardened road warrior will agree: sign up for rewards programs that offer you benefits for your loyalty! Try to stick with the same hotel superchains, rental car companies and airlines. Doing so will open the door to accumulated perks like waived change fees, free checked baggage and complimentary stays/flights/vehicles. Just this week, I finally achieved MVP Gold status on Alaska Airlines! Now, I have greater flexibility when my travel plans change and I want to get on a different flight. I’ve been upgraded to first class a few times and watched in (mock) disgust as the peasants boarded after I was seated comfortably in my extra wide seat. I’m kidding about the peasants but serious about the benefits to be gained from these travel loyalty programs.
- Have some fun. A no-brainer if your sole purpose for traveling is for recreation. I’m speaking to those individuals who travel heavily for work. Check the events calendars in your destination city to see what might appeal to you while you’re in town. Try non-chain restaurants that you can’t find on every street corner in your hometown. Stretch your cramped legs at a local park or get a guest pass to a participating gym. Those of you who follow me on Instagram can attest that I find fun wherever I go. Just this week, I rented snowshoes and traversed the packed trails at Bogus Basin in Boise for less than $20!
I’ve been traveling since 3 am but I was determined to get this post, well, posted! Undoubtedly, I have forgotten a million other travel tidbits that I’ve gleaned over the years. As always, I’d love to hear all about your own tricks of the trade!